MACC warns parties as Anwar supporters scramble for numbers

Anwar Ibrahim with wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail outside their residence in Bukit Segambut, Kuala Lumpur, following their audience with the Agong today.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has warned political parties against resorting to corrupt methods to secure the numbers as MPs from all sides are now being wooed by different blocs out to form the next government.

“Any MP who offers, gives, or receives bribes in any form from parties with vested interest for positions is committing an offence under Section 16 of the MACC Act 2009,” MACC deputy commissioner Azam Baki told Bernama today.

This comes amid claims that horsetrading is underway as parties scramble to form a majority in the Dewan Rakyat, following the break-up of the 20-month old Pakatan Harapan and the exit of almost a dozen MPs from PKR.

FMT has also learnt that supporters of Anwar Ibrahim are stepping up a psywar to show that the PKR president has secured enough support from MPs to convince the Agong to appoint him as the next prime minister.

“It is an age-old tactic by politicians in the game of numbers,” said a Penang-based political consultant who has worked for various groups for more than two decades.

“We saw that in 2008, when Anwar claimed he had the numbers to topple the BN government. The rest is history,” he added.

FMT had earlier learnt that in an about-turn, PKR MPs were instructed to nominate Anwar as prime minister during their audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong today.

There were also reports that DAP MPs had been told to write Anwar’s name as their choice for PM on the forms given to them during their audience with the Agong today.

This was despite initial undertakings by PH leaders, including DAP and Amanah, that they would propose Mahathir to return and revive the Pakatan Harapan coalition which collapsed this week amid speculation of a political realignment.

Other MPs including from PPBM, Barisan Nasional, PAS and Gabungan Parti Sarawak, as well as 11 MPs aligned to sacked PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, have indicated support for Mahathir, although BN said it was conditional upon the veteran leader accepting its MPs en bloc.

A source close to PKR said while Umno’s conditional support for Mahathir was good news for Anwar and his prime ministerial ambition, there is no way Umno, which represents the biggest Malay bloc in the country’s political landscape, would accept DAP in the government.

“For now, Anwar and DAP are inseparable, and there is no question of him ditching the party,” the source added.

Left with no choice but to “dig in” from a pool of Umno MPs, a source said frantic efforts are already underway to woo them to support Anwar as PM.

“At the moment, PKR has secured the support of two Umno MPs, who are known to be close to Anwar.

“These two have signed statutory declarations. So far, Anwar has 92 statutory declarations in his favour.”

But the source said it would be an uphill task to get more Umno MPs to do the same.